Albay Parks and Wildlife: Visit to the Zoo and A Bit of Bonding

If someone would ask me what’s the sweetest deed that Baba has done for me, there would be too many – but most of it were his efforts at bonding with my son and family. I feel his genuine sincerity in caring for Teloy and even for my sister and baby Enzo. I know that even without me around, he would treat my son like his own, and that he would do it not because me, but simply because he wants to. 

Our visit to the nearby zoo was no different. It was a Sunday and for quite a time, my sister wasn’t able to go out much so we took her and baby Enzo with us. We heard Sunday mass first and headed for the zoo. Despite the heat, the boys, Baba, Teloy and Enzo enjoyed looking at the animals. There were other families in the zoo, they were prepared with packed lunch and picnic baskets. Teloy was hungry soon and so we left and dropped by Palamigan in Daraga Market for our lunch.

All this time, Baba carried Enzo, called out to Teloy while he played, took them to check out the birds and monkeys. It was a smooth, easy and fun trip for the kids. I always claim to be independent and able to do things without guys around, but Baba has made himself an irreplaceable part of my life, and he’s making his way into Teloy’s and my family’s life.

One Great Man: Sec Robredo’s Bio From My Inbox

One of the most shocking news I’ve heard last week was the crash of the Piper Seneca plane that is supposed to take Secretary Jesse Robredo from Cebu direct to Naga City. I thought it was a joke, but once I got home and heard the news I still find it unbelievable. These things only happen in the movies or to other people.

I wasn’t personally acquainted with the good Secretary, but he had close connections with my former boss. Both of them served Naga City and seem to share the same outlook when it comes to politics and governance. I was once tasked to contact the office of the Secretary to ask for a Bio and photos of him. I browsed back and searched for the data – it’s still here in my email.


Jesse M. Robredo, incumbent mayor of Naga City, Philippines, is an internationally recognized expert in local governance.

  • He is an Edward Mason Fellow and a graduate of Masters in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Previously, he completed his Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines, finishing at the top of his class as university and college scholar. He is an alumnus of the De La Salle University, having obtained undergraduate degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Mayor Robredo joined San Miguel Corporation’s Magnolia division after his graduation from De La Salle in 1980. Returning home to Naga City in 1986, he was named Program Director of the Bicol River BasinDevelopment Program, an agency tasked to undertake integrated area development planning in the region’s three provinces.
  • In 1988, he won his mayoralty bid, making him the youngest Philippine city mayor at the age 29. He would later serve the city for an unprecedented six 3-year terms as local chief executive.
  • Cited in 1999 by Asiaweek Magazine for transforming Naga City from a lethargic Philippine city into one of Asia’s Most Improved, Robredo energized the bureaucracy, dramatically improved stakeholdership and people participation in governance, in the process restoring Naga to its preeminent position as premier city of the Bicol Region. Today, Naga is considered a model local government in the country and a laboratory of local government innovation.
  • In recognition of his skills and competence as a leader and development manager, his peers elected Robredo president of the League of Cities of the Philippines in 1995, the national association of city mayors. He was also elected chairman of the Regional Development Council, the regional planning and coordinative body of Bicol’s six provinces and seven cities, from 1992- 98. Since 1995, he also chairs the Metro Naga Development Council.
  • In recognition of his work, Robredo received 14 major individual awards, including the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the 1996 Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) Award, the Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), 1998 Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence as Most Outstanding City Mayor of the Philippines and the first ever β€œDangal ng Bayan ” Award of the Civil Service Commission. In March 2008, he was conferred an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by the Far Eastern University in Manila.
  • A trustee of Synergeia Foundation, a national advocacy group for education governance reforms, Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party of the Philippines and a prime mover behind the Kaya Natin!, a national movement that seeks to bring genuine change and ethical leadership in the country.
The good Secretary leaves a flame burning for young reformers to continue what he as started. Quoting Ms. Pia’s favorite “Jessisms” – 
“We do not need another EDSA…for our country to move ahead. EDSA must be everyday. That means everyone understands he has an obligation t

o serve. That means reform is an every day activity. That means the daily grind is more important than the one-time heroic moment.”

“I say that what brings us together is far more powerful than what pulls us apart. What brings us together is the welfare of our people, the greatness of this nation.”

“The best legacy that we can leave to our children is the knowledge that we walked the ‘matuwid na daan’ and turned this nation into a great one. This can trump politics and patronage–any day, anytime.”

A Grateful Year: Recount of My 2011

Last year, I came up with a year end review of my 2010. It had been a year of balanced good and bad experiences, and 2011 started really good for me. Now it is over, and as I recount my experiences, I’m shocked at how busy the year was for me.

2011 started with so much gratefulness in my heart, and it has ended with so much more. A recent facebook status from a friend said “Grateful people get more than what they are grateful for” a passage from Bo Sanchez made me realize how true it is for my 2011.

I made a list of goals for 2011 and so far, I’ve successfully met some of them.

Yes, I was able to build stronger family ties. an added bonus was, a close tie with my 2nd family as well – my co-workers. and for the later part of the year, an even stronger bond with my high school and college tropa (10years and counting).

Yes, I am finally debt-free!! Though most of what I’ve earned for this year went to paying accumulated debts for the past 2 years, I was able to manage and still live well over what’s left.

No, I wasn’t able to finish DPM πŸ™

No, I wasn’t able to climb Mt. Apo. πŸ™

No, I still did not learn to ride a bike!!

But, yes I came back to writing. I finally got my back on track and found clients who recognize good work and compensate well. yipee! πŸ™‚

Then, I remember making a top 3 travel wish list for 2011, missed out 1 but was able to have more!

Sta. Cruz Dragonboat Exhibition Race March 2011.
Photo by Mr. Abet Lagula
AQ at BIDBF. Photo by Mr. Abet Lagula

It all started with a busy racing schedule on March. All the training was put to good use as my team Aqua Fortis joined in several racing events for the summer. Then there’s the Sta. Cruz exhibition race and the Boracay International Dragonboat Festival which brought me to yesssssssssss Bora for the first time!!!

It was a wow experience for me setting foot in the beautiful island of Boracay for the first time. And though this trip was spent mostly on the boat, I still loved it – just feeling the sand on my toes and seeing crystal blue waters each morning is divine! I made a promise to go spend some time here again soon.

Then just two weeks after, I flew to Puerto Princesa, Palawan with my most dear friends. An experience that brought us together again after many years. It also gave us a chance to bond and talk about how things had been going, how things are going on at the moment and how things will be in the future.

We were able to visit the different islands off honda bay and swam and snorkel our hearts out at Snake Island and Pandan Islands.

It was the highlight of the mid year and summer season for me. It was apparent with my skin color how much I enjoyed the sun and beaches for the summer of 2011!

The Palawan trip also brought me to one of the world’s Natural Wonders – the Underground River in Sabang, Palawan. I was very lucky to have visited this place at least once in my life and I am also putting this on would-visit-back-with-teloy trips one day soon.

This trip concluded the first half of my 2011. For the month of June, work started to get busy, and I seriously wanted to get my flawless (yes, flawless!) skin back so I took a rest from rowing.

July came in and ended with an unexpected surprise. It was something that gave spice to my single-lifehood and had a bittersweet ending. Still, I’m giving it (or him) another chance and so the future looks brighter with renewed fate and beliefs.

 August came in heavy in emotion and a sudden urge to escape. The long awaited trip to Sagada and my goal of crossing out the first on my top 3 travel wish list loomed ahead, but typhoon Mina got in the way and gave me an unplanned sojourn in the cold and typhoon drenched city of Baguio.

Maybe it wasn’t really time for me to get to know Sagada yet. So I’m putting it yet again on my top travel wish list for 2012.

September took a dragging. Though nobody noticed it at work, I took advantage of the company and the time spent with my co-workers.

Their support was a tangible thing, not spoken but sincerely felt. And so I was very much grateful. Part of my September was the day trip to Silang Cavite and Tagaytay.

view of Mt. Mayon from the
2nd flr of Embarcadero

And, still experiencing that emotional turmoil, being okay and not okay, I seek refuge in the comfort of being with my son, Teloyskie. I took a vacation home and came back to work with a vengeance.

When October came in, everything was set 
on a roller coaster ride. My “home” project started, as well as a food trip saga. I’ve been wanting to move into another apartment for the longest time, and the search started for this month. Along with it was some amazing food discoveries. 

The burger project in Maginhawa St. in Teacher’s village allowed me to customize my burger and gave me my first  taste of blueberry milk shake.

This also made me work on gaining weight so people around me started taking me dining and food tasting. But still I was more into coffee tasting and how I love meet ups with fellow Aquababes Debie and Osh at Toastbox for a cup of skinny coffee!

Work also became demanding along with a new and demanding boss. Busy could not completely describe how this month was, then it ended with a work related trip to Fontana Leisure park in Pampanga. 

November was a blast! This month took me to my top 2 travel wish list for 2011 – Davao. Though it was a rush 48 hour experience, it was still a trip that took me to the southern part of the country – Mindanao!

It was a busy work-related trip but we were also able to go around the souvenir shops suggested at the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific – Smile Magazine.

I also took my mandatory leave in the middle part of November so I was also able to visit Teloyskie for his 5th Birthday! Happy!

December probably was the busiest part of my year with the long list of events and activities. There were a lot of christening, bridal showers, weddings and Christmas parties. All these events, gave me some of the best time with my family and friends. And showed me all things that I should be more thankful for – the people who were with me all this time. Thank you for all the love and support! Another year comes, and I have 365 more days to show my appreciation and love for all of you.

Albay: Ramdom Things

I spent my mandatory leave vacation in last Nov 15-22 in Daraga, Albay. I filed it on those days because it was also Teloy’s birthday for that week. I haven’t done much exploring around Albay this time because of the unpredictable weather and rain everyday. I just made do with spending days with Teloy and my new nephew Enzo.

My mom asked me and Teloy to accompany her to Daraga water district to pay our water bill. It is located on the same hill where the famous Daraga Church sits on top. So while mom wait in line and sits comfortably to wait for her turn, Teloy and I decided to explore a little of the church and see how the restoration is going on.

A pretty cloudy day: no Mt. Mayon in sight

The Church Facade covered in lime, soon the Belfry will be too.

Daraga church is a natural heritage site and is currently undergoing restoration process. A couple of months ago, I was really shocked when I saw the church facade in what appears to be white paint. I later read from a newspaper that it was in fact lime coating which will prevent further deterioration. Some construction was also happening around the church especially along the cliff overlooking the town and the magnificent Mt. Mayon.

Before heading back to Manila, I shopped around for pasalubongs and searched for what one of my office mates wanted – an ashtray with Mt. Mayon cover. I found it and some really good stuff at a stall in 2nd floor of Lando Pacific Mall.

Mt. Mayon Ashtray

Ibalong Chess Set

Ibalong Characters

Mt. Mayon display plate.

These products are made from volcanic materials brought down by the floods of typhoon Reming exactly 5 years ago – November 30, 2006.

Aside from these, I bough some pili of course and my favorite toasted siopao (they don’t have toasted siopao anywhere in Manila!!)

Go Aqua! Legazpi Dragon Boat Exhibition Race 2011

One of the highlights for this year’s Legazpi City Port fiesta is the Dragon Boat Exhibition Race which will happen on October 22, 2011 8am at the Embarcadero de Legazpi. Our team AQUA FORTIS CREW will be participating in the said event, though I won’t be paddling with my team in my very own province I still be will be there to support them.

Dragon boat paddling is one of the sports which flourished this year with the International winnings of our dragon boat national and club teams. So I’m inviting everyone to join me in cheering for our dragon boat paddlers in Legazpi. Oars Up! Let’s Paddle Hard and Party Harder!

at the CamSur International DB Fest 2010
Cobra Regatta

Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival 2011

(*All pics courtesy of my team mates πŸ™‚)